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W.Va. man sentenced for safe theft

January 04, 2001

W.Va. man sentenced for safe theft



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Despite a plea to postpone sentencing so a West Virginia man could care for an ailing father, a Franklin County judge Wednesday sentenced him to serve from 1 to 10 years in state prison for his role in a safe heist last year.

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Eric Currier, 24, 106 Appletree Garden in Ranson, W.Va., was the fourth man to be sentenced for the theft of a safe containing $1.57 million in cash and other valuables in Mercersburg, Pa., last March.

Currier was supposed to be sentenced on burglary charges last month, but Judge John Walker agreed to delay sentencing for a month so Currier could spend the holidays with his father, who is terminally ill.

"This isn't your average burglary. He got $40,000 out of it. He had fun spending it, now he'll have fun doing the time," Walker said

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Currier, who had no prior record, blamed his actions on drugs.

"At the time I wasn't in the right frame of mind. Right now I'm clean as a whistle," he said.

Currier said he spent his share of the stolen money on a used truck, a motorcycle, clothes and a hotel room for several weeks while he kicked his addiction to drugs.

The 700-pound safe was stolen from F. Martin Lininger's office in Mercersburg on March 27, 2000. The safe contained $208,000 in cash, antique jewelry, stock certificates, bonds and old coins, according to court records.

Lininger, a retired funeral home director, said the safe had been in his family's office for about 75 years. That March weekend, thieves wheeled the safe out the door and into an alley, where it was loaded into a vehicle and driven away, police said.

Walker handed down identical sentences to Currier's brother, Kristopher Currier, 20, and Charles Decker, 19, both of Martinsburg, W.Va., in November for their part in the theft.

In October, John Anthony Bigiarelli, 21, of Martinsburg, was sentenced to 23 months in the county jail and ordered to pay restitution of about $245,000.

Bruce Lee Albright, 20, of 106 Silversmith Lane in Martinsburg is scheduled for trial during the January trial term on charges of burglary, theft, receiving, conspiracy and criminal trespassing.

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